BA English Language and Chinese

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Language Policy and Planning

Course unit fact file
Unit code LELA30752
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 3
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


This module aims to equip students with the key theoretical and practical concepts of language policy and language planning. It will familiarise students with the processes by which languages are promoted or discouraged, e.g. by governments, and what impacts such choices have in areas such as education, minority languages, community empowerment, linguistic human rights, access to health and nation building.

Students will gain a solid understanding of the different phases of language planning, including topics such as language standardisation, codification, implementation, and harmonisation. They will also gain practical experience in analysing language policies in various contexts including homes, schools and institutions. This course will introduce students to research methods in language policy and planning, and students will learn to critically examine language policy and planning strategies of different countries from the Global South and the Global North.


After satisfactorily completing this module students will demonstrate a general understanding of:

  • The core concepts in the field of language policy and planning
  • A general understanding of the language policies and planning strategies used by countries in different parts of the world
  • Language power and inequalities, especially where language choices are restricted
  • The impact of language policies on human rights and language vitality
  • The importance of linguistic research for education, economic development and nation building
  • The methodologies for researching language policy and planning

Knowledge and understanding

Upon completion of this course, students will develop a strong understanding of:

  • The relationship between general linguistics and applied linguistics
  • The importance of language attitudes and ideology for language planning
  • The consequences of informed and uninformed political choices on the management of linguistic resources
  • The importance of language in education, development and access to opportunities

Intellectual skills

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  • Develop critical thinking
  • Argumentation in written and oral modes
  • Critical examination of language policy and planning projects
  • Analysis of language management approaches
  • Ability to review relevant academic publications

Practical skills

Student will gain experience in:

  • Conducting small scale research on language policy and planning
  • Critically assessing language policies made by governments and international institutions
  • Data analysis
  • Presenting their arguments orally and in writing

Transferable skills and personal qualities

Students will develop:

  • Abilities to identify and solve problems independently
  • Teamwork skills through group work
  • Data gathering, processing and data analysis
  • Writing skills
  • Oral presentation skills

Employability skills

Analytical skills
This course is of particular interest to students interested in pursuing a career in politics, with non-governmental organisations, and with institutions such as the United Nations. A strong understanding of language policy and planning is essential to help political leaders make informed choices on how to manage both majority and minority languages to ensure peaceful coexistence of communities and strengthen nation building. It is also important to facilitate equal access to public services.
Project management
Many international organisations such as UNESCO promote ¿mother tongue¿ education. This course will equip students with the tools needed to work in such educational programmes, where they can contribute to critically evaluating and implementing the language policy and planning of these organisations
This course will also be useful to students who may go on to work in the human rights sector to support communities who may be victims of oppressive language policies.

Assessment methods

Assessment Task Formative or Summative   Weighting within unit (if summative)
Coursework 1:Short answers questions Summative   25%
Coursework 2: essay evaluating a case of language policy/planning Summative   75%


Feedback methods

Feedback method Formative or Summative
oral feedback during seminars Formative
Written feedback via TurnitIn on written assignments Summative
Additional one-to-one feedback during consultation hours Formative


Recommended reading

  • Fishman, J. A. (2006) Language loyalty, language planning and language revitalization. Multilingual Matters. 
  • Bamgbose, Ayo. 1991. Language and the Nation. The Language Question in Sub-Saharan Africa. Endinburgh: Endinburgh, University.  
  • Kaplan, R. B. & Baldauf, R. B. (1997) Language planning from practice to theory. Clavedon: Multilingual Matters. 
  • Skutnabb-Kangas, T. & Phillipson, R. (1995) Linguistic human rights: overcoming linguistic discrimination. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. 
  • Spolsky, Bernard. 2004. Language Policy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 
  • Spolsky, Bernard. 2012. The Cambridge handbook of language policy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 
  • Tollefson, James W. & Miguel Pérez-Milans (eds.). 2018. The Oxford handbook of language policy and planning. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 22
Seminars 10
Independent study hours
Independent study 168

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Serge Sagna Unit coordinator

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